Driving a race car or bike is a hugely physical act, and racing a machine around even the most basic circuit can take its toll on a racing driver or rider.
Racing around the stomach-churning, roller coaster-like circuits we’ve chosen below requires a mix of strength, concentration and the constitution of an ox.
Forget theme parks, here are five of the wildest rides in the world:
Vom-inducer: Eau Rouge
The Spa-Francorchamps circuit features terrifyingly quick corners like Pouhon (pronounced 'poo-on', which might be onomatopoeic!), Blanchimont and the pure adrenaline-filled fwoooomp that is the run through Eau Rouge corner.
Jenson Button once said that the experience of driving at Spa was the reason people race Formula 1 cars – and if it’s good enough for JB…
Take a lap of Spa in a Porsche 919 Hybrid with Le Mans 2015 winner Earl Bamber.
2 Laguna Seca
Biggest stomach-churner: The Corkscrew
In the news for all the wrong reasons recently, California's Laguna Seca is a circuit that demands respect – and in one place in particular.
The Corkscrew, for the uninitiated, is a left-right flick with a blind approach where, by the time you’ve powered out of the right flick, you’ve dropped down five storeys in just 121m. An extremely wild ride.
Watch racers explaining the challenge of The Corkscrew in the video below.
3 Circuit of the Americas
Gut wrencher numero uno: Turn One
One of the few Hermann Tilke circuits that riders and drivers seem to actually like (click here to see the others), Austin, Texas Circuit of the Americas features a sudden, steep climb into the hugely-wide Turn One, allowing overtaking a-go-go while the elevation change gives the racers a solid gut punch.
The track then falls away into a magnificent series of bends, where one false move in the will wreck your sequence for the following turns. Nice work Tilke !
Mark Webber explains how to drive a perfect lap at COTA:
4 Brands Hatch
Belly-buster: Paddock Hill Bend
To understand why Brands Hatch is SUCH a roller coaster, all you need to know is that it started life as a motocross track! Drivers and riders spend the first part of a lap of the Grand Prix circuit thundering up and down two huge hills before thrusting out into the super-fast forest section.
The first part of the lap, with racers braking hard into Paddock Hill Bend and then plunging downhill and then immediately back up and into the Druids hairpin is a proper thrill ride g force moment that wouldn’t be out of place at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
Enjoy Nigel Mansell ragging his Lotus F1 car around Brands Hatch in the 1980s:
5 Mount Panorama
Abdominiser: The whole section from Reid Park down to the Chase
Mount Panorama, home of Australia’s Bathurst 1000 V8 Supercar race, is one of the most challenging race tracks anywhere in the world – but don’t take our word for it.
Jenson Button (see Spa, above) took a McLaren F1 car around the track in 2011 and couldn’t believe how tricky it was: “Most circuits I go to, I can pick up within two laps,” he said. “Here, it would take half a day.”
The mountain section of the course is particularly daunting, a sort of undulating Monaco with precisely the same amount of run-off (i.e. not a lot) while the kink on the Conrod Straight before heading into the Chase requires V8 Supercar drivers to put it on the line at 300km/h.
Watch Jenson Button’s frantic F1 lap of Mount Panorama in the video below.